Happy Bench Monday

January 21st is National Hugging Day… An unknown author said: A hug is two hearts wrapped in arms.

January 21st is National Hugging Day.

Happy Bench Monday today and Hug Day tomorrow!

Little Mnimi girl and family sitting on a swinging bench in a bird farm
Dec. 30, 2014, Little Mnimi girl and family sitting on a swinging bench in a bird farm

A hug is two hearts wrapped in arms.

Unknown Author

Your brain says cheese

Dairy products, such as yogurt and low-fat Camembert cheese, may prevent Alzheimer’s disease due to calcium, vitamin B12, probiotic and other neuroprotective agents.

January 20th is National Cheese Lover’s Day. To all Steve Urkels, come celebrate your favorite dairy – from asiago and Monterey jack to Velveeta and Zufi.

😐

Alright. You might find this confusing… Some say cheese is bad and contributes to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Some say it’s good as it may reduce the risk of cognitive decline and prevent AD. Here’s what I found…

Gouda news

There are old reports that say the bigger or fatter the body, the smaller the brain 🧠 gets. If cheese and yogurt were also reported to help lower the risk of obesity, then that means it will also aid in preventing cognitive decline. (1)

📖

Studies have shown that dairy products, such as yogurt and low-fat cheese 🧀 , may indeed prevent Alzheimer’s disease. This is due to some brain-power components of dairy 🐄 , such as calcium, vitamin B12 and probiotics to name a few (as the others are quite complicated for you to even care about. lol). (1)

🧪

An evaluation of 1,183 participants shows that men 👱‍♂️ who had higher protein intake seemed to have lower stress while low-fat yogurt consumption resulted to good memory recall. Women who consumed low-fat cheese, on the other hand, was reported with decreased cognitive impairment. To summarize, low-fat yogurt and cheese contributed to good brain 🧠 health. (1)

🤓

More research, however, has to be done to understand how all cheese components really work within our brain and body. (1)

Camembert cheese neuroprotection

Camembert cheese has oleamide and dehydroergosterol – two anti-inflammatory compounds found to induce microglia that leads to the protection of neurons in your central nervous system. (1)

Microglia is a collection of cells that are key to overall brain 🧠 maintenance. As primary immune cells of the central nervous system, microglia identify threatening foreign bodies and destroy them. (2)

References:
(1) Ano, Y. & Nakayama, H. (2018, June 30). Preventive Effects of Dairy Products on Dementia and the Underlying Mechanisms. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6073537/.
(2) Microglia. (2018, December 7). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microglia.

Victor Hugo quote: the greatest happiness of life

Victor Hugo said: The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved – loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.

The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved – loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.

Victor Hugo

George Sand quote: the only happiness in life

George Sand said: There is only one happiness in this life – to love and be loved.

There is only one happiness in this life – to love and be loved.

George Sand

Sebastian Bach on how to play any musical instrument

Johann Sebastian Bach said: It’s easy to play any musical instrument. All you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.

A cartoonish piano that is crooked
A Johann Sebastian Bach photo quote about touching the right key to play an instrument

It’s easy to play any musical instrument. All you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.

Johann Sebastian Bach

Giving out love and letting it in: life’s most important

Morrie Schwartz said to Mitch Albom, as written on his memoir, Tuesdays With Morrie: The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love and to let it come in…

The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love and to let it come in.

Morrie Schwartz, Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

Philip Treacy quote: what makes the hat

Philip Treacy said: The personality of the wearer and the hat makes the hat.

Lovely lady, all smiles, while slightly tipping off her black-and-white-striped floppy hat
Lovely lady, all smiles, while slightly tipping off her black-and-white-striped floppy hat

The personality of the wearer and the hat makes the hat.

Philip Treacy

Angelina Jolie quote: what sets you apart in life

Angelina Jolie said: What sets you apart is what you are willing to do for others. Anyone can put on a dress and make up. It’s your mind that will define you.

What sets you apart is what you are willing to do for others. Anyone can put on a dress and make up. It’s your mind that will define you. Find out who you are, what do think and what you stand for; and fight for others to have those same freedoms. A life of service is worth living.

Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie on the cover of ELLE magazine, March 2018 issue


National Hat Day: Hetherington’s unusual design

January 15th is National Hat Day. Its history is possibly attributed to John Hetherington’s first appearance wearing a top hat in 1797.

I am a bit weirded out by the story of this hat incident . . . much like how those onlookers reacted to the bizarre headgear. There is no direct explanation about how the 15th of January was proclaimed the national day of hats, but this one comes close and might as well be its origin… Enter the Age of Enlightenment…

History of National Hat Day

On January 15, 1797, John Hetherington first appeared in public wearing his unusual hat he described as his own silk hat creation – which was actually just a top hat of today. The Strand haberdasher believed his tall headdress will create a “sensation” but caused a commotion instead.

According to Hatter’s Gazette: “It was with no little trepidation that about eleven o’clock in the forenoon, Mr. Hetherington emerged from his shop in the Strand. His family advised against it, but he was determined, and forth he sallied.”

Wow! Talk about deep English of yore… How about if you post your next Instagram #selfie or Facebook #status with this tagline – “With no trepidation in the forenoon, I emerged and sallied.” #thebest

Mad as a hatter

As reported, the unusual sight of Hetherington’s hat not just invited curious bystanders to follow him around but also spawned a “howling mob”. Weirded 18th-century folks reacted to that tall and lustre-shiny oddball titfer they described as “calculated to frighten timid people”. “Several women fainted…, children screamed, dogs yelped” and a young boy ended up having his right arm broken (as crowds can be dangerous, you know).

Like I said, I’m already weirded out by their reaction. I wonder how they’d react if they see the Coneheads. Well, I bet even you will be scared to see a crowned alien in the flesh.

Furthermore, “those on the outskirts of the crowd did not know the nature of the trouble, if there was any, but they helped to swell the din.”

Okay, you must remember: It’s not good to swell the din, else…

The result: “John Hetherington, haberdasher, of the Strand, was arraigned before the Lord Mayor yesterday on a charge of breach of the peace and inciting to riot and was required to give bonds in the amount of £500.”

Wow.
How about you check out Sia’s 2016 Cheap Thrills lyric video (below) if you haven’t yet…

Hatmaker John claimed he did not violate any law further saying that he was “merely exercising a right to appear in a headdress of his own design – a right not denied to any Englishman.”

You go, grampa mad-hatter!
I also wonder how much Mayor will charge the real Mad Hatter Tarrant Hightopp. Hmm…

Times on January 16, 1797 commented, “In these days of enlightenment, it must be considered an advance in dress reform, and one which is bound, sooner or later, to stamp its character upon the entire community. The new hat is destined to work a revolution in headgear, and we think the officers of the Crown erred in placing the defendant under arrest.”

Wow! Talk about deep English of yore… How about if you post your next Instagram #selfie or Facebook #status with this tagline – “With no trepidation in the forenoon, I emerged and sallied.” #thebest

I Call Her Mnimi, AboutMnimi.com
Sia – Cheap Thrills ft. Sean Paul (Lyric Video) by Sia, on YouTube


Reference:
(1) Thornton, Richard. The First Silk Hat in London. The Literary Era: A Monthly Repository of Literary and Miscellaneous Information, 6. Philadelphia, PA: Porter & Coates. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=BzLZAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA167&lpg=PA167&dq=january+15+1797+hatter’s+gazette&source=bl&ots=wtcUQigBxK&sig=nt7tI2w0OEp5o26BnFO6-O0jJQw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwirguGa6-ffAhWN-lQKHUbdD-QQ6AEwAnoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=january%2015%201797%20hatter’s%20gazette&f=false.

Happy Bench Monday

The 2nd Monday of January is National Clean Off Your Desk Day.

Go ahead; clean your desks. Declutter for a better focus. What a good way to start your work week!

Happy Bench Monday Clean Off Your Desk Day!

Mnimi, showing her cleaned off desk in her bedroom
Mnimi, standing on her chair for Bench Monday

Love like the wind you feel

Nicholas Sparks said: Love is like the wind. You can’t see it but you can feel it.

Love is like the wind. You can’t see it but you can feel it.

Nicholas Sparks, A Walk To Remember

Memory as key to learning

Memory is the mental faculty that retrieves information that had been encoded and stored in the brain. This is key to learning.

Memory is the mental faculty that retrieves information that had been encoded and stored in the brain. This is key to learning.

Memory as defined in Psychology here

Memory - depicted as treasure kept and retrieved through time - I Call Her Mnimi | AboutMnimi.com
Memory – depicted as treasure kept and retrieved through time
I Call Her Mnimi | AboutMnimi.com

National Hot Tea Day: brain benefits of tea

January 12th is National Hot Tea Day. Let’s toast our teacups and celebrate by understanding the brain benefits of tea, like peppermint, chamomile, green and black.

January 12th is National Hot Tea Day (with January as the National Hot Tea Month) as declared by the Tea Council of the USA in 2016. Let’s toast our tea cups and celebrate by exploring some types of tea – chamomile, peppermint, black and green – and their cognitive benefits.

Tea and memory

A regular cup of tea is found to be beneficial to your cognitive health.

In a study of 1,003 Japanese participants aged 70 and above, it was concluded that the more green tea 🍵 they consumed, the lesser the cognitive impairment was. In another study of 2,501 Chinese adults aged 55 and above, regular consumption of black (fermented) and oolong (semi-fermented) tea ☕️ “was associated with lower risks of cognitive impairment and decline independent of other risk factors.” (1)

Both black and green tea inhibited an enzyme activity in relation to a brain 🧠 neurotransmitter imbalance that causes Alzheimer’s disease. According to Dr. Ed Okello, lead investigator: “Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, tea could potentially be another weapon in the armoury which is used to treat this disease and slow down its development.” (2)

Dr. Okello, a green tea 🍵 drinker, also said, “The ageing politician, Tony Benn, is a prime example of somebody who drinks tea and has a fantastic memory. He is said to drink 18 pints a day and has a very sharp mind for a man of his age.” (2)

Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, tea could potentially be another weapon in the armoury which is used to treat this disease and slow down its development.

Dr. Ed Okello

Brain tea for two: peppermint vs. chamomile

In an experiment conducted by the Psychology Department of Northumbria University, peppermint and chamomile tea had been proven to have contrasting effects… While peppermint tea makes you alert; thereby, improving memory, chamomile tea impairs cognition as it calms you down. (3)

Doris Day – Tea for Two (1950) uploaded by Kudret Laurentius, on YouTube

Picture me upon your knee –
With tea for two and two for tea;
Just me for you
And you for me alone.

Doris Day song, Tea For Two

Peppermint tea

Peppermint contains theanine, an amino acid (a building block of protein), found in green tea. Its combination with caffeine is found to promote better memory and learning; thus, became popular as a nootropic supplement typically found in the form of a pill, drink or gum. (4)

While theanine is good for treating anxiety and high blood pressure, it is also used to make cancer treatment more effective. Similar to glutamate, theanine also transmits nerve impulses in the brain and helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease. (5)

Chamomile tea

Like peppermint, chamomile can alleviate anxiety and possibly prevent cancer cells from developing. But in addition, it also ease menstrual cramps and reduce inflammation, as well as “help” prevent blood sugar increase, slow down osteoporosis and relieve cold symptoms (although more research is needed on those last three claims). (6)

Because chamomile calms you down and lowers mental alertness, it will naturally and temporarily impair your memory.

Please note:
Peppermint and chamomile should be taken as supplements; and should not, in any way, replace medicine, especially when prescribed. Please consult your doctor.

References:
(1) Okello, Ed. (2016, September 14). A memorable cup of tea. Retrieved from https://www.ncl.ac.uk/media/wwwnclacuk/instituteofneuroscience/files/A%20memorable%20cup%20of%20tea%20and%20other%20natural%20products%20%20-%20ARUK%202016-Ed%20Okello.pdf.
(2) University Of Newcastle Upon Tyne. (2004, November 1). Tea Could Improve Memory, Study Shows. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041030144110.htm.
(3) Herbs that can boost your mood and memory. (2016, April 29). Retrieved from https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/about-us/news-events/news/2016/04/herbs-that-can-boost-your-mood-and-memory/.
(4) Theanine. (2018, December 30). Retrieved January 4, 2019 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theanine.
(5) Theanine. (n.d.). Retrieved January 4, 2019 from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1053/theanine.
(6) Villines, Zawn. (2017, November 15). What are the benefits of chamomile tea? Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320031.php.

International thank you day

January 11th is world thank you day… Thank you, a beautiful two-word phrase that we should always remember to say. If you are one of those who find it difficult to utter these simple words, at least now is the perfect time to say it.

January 11th is International Thank You Day.

Happy World Thank You Day!  I Call Her Mnimi - AboutMnimi.com

Happy World Thank You Day! I Call Her Mnimi – AboutMnimi.com

Memory recall: a good reminder

Someone once reminded me the importance of saying thank you. He told me that his mother taught him that. I just now realize that this beautiful two-word phrase – Thank You – is associated to this person. (I happen to have a word-name association list and so he’s now officially there. #ohwell 😒

Of course, I know how to say thank you since childhood. But getting a reminder once in a while is good, too, as we unmindfully forget to say it sometimes. So, this is also your reminder. #yourewelcome 😆

If you are one of those who find it difficult to utter these two simple words, at least now is the perfect time to say it. It’s official – the 11th of January – World #ThankYou Day. 🙏

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.

Meister Eckhart quote

Thank you, next, next… Thank you. 🎶😆

Take the stairs day quotes

January 10th is Take The Stairs Day.

There is no elevator to success.  You have to take the stairs. Zig Ziglar quote | I Call Her Mnimi | AboutMnimi.com
There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.
Zig Ziglar quote
I Call Her Mnimi | AboutMnimi.com

In the New Year, never forget to thank to your past years because they enabled you to reach today! Without the stairs of the past, you cannot arrive at the future!

Mehmet Murat ildan quote | I Call Her Mnimi | AboutMnimi.com

Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing. Believe in yourself and believe that there is a loving Source – a Sower of Dreams – just waiting to be asked to help you make your dreams come true.

Sarah Ban Breathnach quote| I Call Her Mnimi | AboutMnimi.com

19 ways to make you feel good about yourself [Feeling Good videos]

Nina Simone’s Feeling Good song is a perfect message, not just for the new year but also for every single new day. Wake up to a new dawn, a new day, a new life everyday. Here are a few feel-good reminders…

My heart is singing to this tune, Feeling Good sung by Nina Simone…

Feeling Good -Nina Simone (Lyrics) uploaded by Adam Howard, on YouTube

Birds flying high,
You know how I feel;
Sun in the sky,
You know how I feel;
Breeze driftin’ on by,
You know how I feel.
It’s a new dawn;
It’s a new day;
It’s a new life
For me…
And I’m feeling good.

Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, Feeling Good
Feeling good song excerpt by Nina Simone
Mnimi, jumping for joy and feeling good on a bright day at the park - I Call Her Mnimi - AboutMnimi.com
Mnimi, jumping for joy and feeling good on a bright day at the park – I Call Her Mnimi – AboutMnimi.com

Kudos to Bricusse and Newley for producing a well-written song – perfect for this year! Shall we take this message to heart as we journey (together) all throughout this year?

Channel your spirits to being positive and feeling good.

That’s easy to say and a little hard to do… But pause… Think about your family, those who rely upon you or that one person who looks up to you like a hero… How about those people who -or- things that give you inspiration? Think of them / those . . . and then focus on your goal.

Here are a few things to do in order to shake bad things off your system and come back to good life…

Your 19 feel-good checklist:

  1. Dress up nicely. To make sure you come out of your bedroom all nicely groomed and prepped up, prepare your outfit the night before. Leisurely gather all your pieces together and try those on, if you haven’t yet, in front of a mirror. Remember the hashtag: #youlookgoodyoufeelgood.
  2. Write down all your good qualities. I have carvings that say Smile and #beautiful as well as framed messages. It sure is nice to see them on different parts of my home. Isn’t it great to read and be reminded of your own good qualities? #imgood
  3. Write down your weaknesses. You’re not perfect. No one is (not even the self-proclaimed narcissist). Graciously accept that you’re not and move on to doing other things that you are good at. #itsokay
  4. Recognize your uniqueness. Seeing both your good and weak side, remember that those are what make you unique. Those are what make you one of a kind – in other words, #beautiful.
  5. Remember that life is not perfect. If you’re not perfect then so is life. Every soul has his or her own share of disappointment, including the most successful or happiest person. But the latter and so are you know how to #keepitup!
  6. Let life be your bestie. How do you treat your best friend? It’s a love-and-hate relationship, isn’t it? Love – because that person in your life is who you share your life with. Hate – because of familiarity, you’re comfortable to say the nastiest words and vent out your feelings easily. But in the end, you talk about what time you’re lunching tomorrow… In the same sense, vent out and move on. #bestfriendswithlife
  7. Be content with what you have. Don’t be obsessive ’cause you can’t have them all. Remember no. 3? Just accept what you have and make peace with what you can’t have in life. #canlivewithout
  8. Watch your thoughts. It’s what you think that comes out of your mouth and what you say is oftentimes what you do. If you think losing 10 pound is good for you, then you’ll most likely talk about it and you’ll eventually exercise. #positivethinking
  9. Find your strength. For physical strength, exercise and build/rebuild some muscles. (I transfer my heavy porcelain plates in groups from my dishwasher up to the cupboard… What?) I mean, get used to carrying some weights. That should be the same thing for emotional strength, on a non-literal sense. For one, being able to get up in the morning is a start. #innerpower
  10. Face your fear. Everyone dreads something. (Or, don’t pretend you don’t have one or two.) It’s okay to be afraid of something. Sometimes, that’s what puts you to safety – like, scared to drink then drive. But talk about bold moves to get to your goal, your destination. (I’m not talking about Big Bear here!) There are people who faced their scariest life challenges and came out successful. Do the same. #fearless
  11. Keep going. Whatever it is that come your way – whether good or bad – keep moving forward… When I was still at the planning stage of this website, I listened (and still am listening) to podcasts and audiobooks everyday to keep my momentum up. I also keep my Pinterest up for visual inspiration. If not, I probably would have abandoned my goal. #followyourdreams
  12. Take control of your own life. You are the pilot of your own ship. Empower yourself and take control. Steer yourself away from negative vibes and into the path towards fulfilling your goal. #getthere
  13. Trust yourself.  Forget Johari window for a minute. Sometimes, the best person who knows you is yourself.  So, believe in yourself (unless you’re doing the opposite of what we’ve been talking about).  Believe that you can do things.  If you can’t, find a solution or a better alternative. #youcandoit
  14. Be confident. Walk with your head up high. There is nothing to be looking-down-on except if your shoe laces are untied (or there’s a big crack on your track). Seriously, smile and chip up. With all the good things you started from no. 1, there’s nothing to worry about . . . except if you feel broccoli stuck between your teeth. LOL. No, seriously. Let me repeat – #beconfident.
  15. Design your life. Have you heard of lifestyle design? It’s a great concept. In order to bring more value to your life, you create your own lifestyle. For instance, if you like dancing then go find an dance studio. If you like to work at home, then research on how you can do that. #blog
  16. Do good things. Have you heard of that commercial about random act of kindness? That’s another cool concept, too. Well, try it yourself and see how you feel afterwards. #randomactofkindness
  17. Don’t take things personally.  Sometimes, life is a joke and the people around you makes it feel like it, too.  Chances are you are just being overly sensitive so stop it!  Take it easy on yourself. #livelaugh
  18. Love yourself. …is the greatest love of all.🎶 Period. #loveyourself
  19. Make a thank you list. Seeing a list of things to be thankful for – just like writing down your good qualities on no. 2 above – should cause you to realize your worth. Your life has good value. Your life is important (more than that harmless daddy long-legs my hubby spared last night). #thankyounext

Remember:
New Year’s Day is a good start . . . however, you don’t really have to wait for the end-of-year to improve your life.  Each day is always a good new day to start over even if you have to do it again and again . . . and again.

Michael Bublé – Feeling Good [Official Music Video] by Michael Bublé, on YouTube

New Year’s resolution a musical instrument

A New Year’s resolution is like learning a musical instrument. You start excited but sometimes end up realizing how difficult it is. The time comes when you decide whether to continue or not… If you choose to pursue and reach your goal, it will result to a life changing moment.

Behold! 🎺 A new day and a new year beckons. Yet another list of neglected resurrected resolutions are again in vogue.  Oftentimes, however, our first-of the-year list of to-dos is merely an ideal. Like sort of a fleeting fashion statement, the perfect model glides down the catwalk and then loses her high-heel 👠 balance. She falls off the edge even before January ends.

We have come to a point where pronouncing or showing off our resolutions seems enough. Enough to Pinterest or share with our little social-media-based world 🌎.  Enough to just say, “my new year resolution” with hashtags, #newyear and #selfie, on our Facebook, Instagram and other profiles.  Whether it catches on like a craze ⚡️or totally disappears like a failed trend, it is irrelevant.

A New Year’s resolution is much like learning a musical instrument.🎸 There is a period of initial zeal and excitement as it is a personal challenge.  Then comes the moment of reality about how difficult the task is to follow every note. 🎵  You began to reach the crossroads – of whether to continue or not, to keep that instrument close to your heart ❤️ or retire it to some nameless corner.   

But to persevere with time 🕰 then later produce beautiful melodies 🎶 once you mastered that musical instrument 🎹 is just like pursuing and fulfilling your new year’s resolution.  It results into a life changing moment of accomplishment filled with beauty and happiness.😃

To persevere with time then later produce beautiful melodies once you mastered that musical instrument is just like pursuing and fulfilling your new year’s resolution. It results into a life changing moment of accomplishment filled with beauty and happiness.

lancelonie

Instead of saying there is always next year, make it happen this year!

LanceLonie 💕

Brad Pitt quote on moments of epiphany

I always liked those moments of epiphany, when you have the next destination. Brad Pitt quote | I Call Her Mnimi | http://www.AboutMnimi.com

I always liked those moments of epiphany – when you have the next destination.
Brad Pitt quote
I Call Her Mnimi | AboutMnimi.com

Feeling good on New Year

Feeling Good by Nina Simone is a perfect feel-good song for the new year… Birds flying high, you know how I feel… It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life. And I’m feeling good! | Nina Simone song
I Call Her Mnimi | http://www.AboutMnimi.com

Feeling Good – Birds flying high, you know how I feel… It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life. And I’m feeling good!

Nina Simone, Feeling Good by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley
Feeling Good - Birds flying high, you know how I feel...  It's a new dawn.  It's a new day.  It's a new life.  And I'm feeling good! | Nina Simone song
Birds flying high under a pink and purple sky, signifying a good feeling that looks forward to a new life

National Trivia Day: your January trivia

January 4th is National Trivia Day in the US. Here is your trivia: Did you know that January is named after…

January 4th is National Trivia Day in the US.

Did you know?

January is named after Janus, the Roman god of time and transitions, as well as passages and endings. He is depicted with two faces – one facing backward (past) and the other looking forward (future).

January 4th: Happy National Trivia Day - I Call Her Mnimi - www.AboutMnimi.com
January 4th: Happy National Trivia Day
I Call Her Mnimi | http://www.AboutMnimi.com

Reference:
Janus. (2018, December 10). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janus.

Setting goals for the new year chapter

The new year stands before us like a chapter in a book – waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals. Melody Beattie quote – I call her Mnimi – AboutMnimi.com

The new year stands before us like a chapter in a book - waiting to be written.  We can help write that story by setting goals.  Melody Beattie quote | I Call Her Mnimi | www.AboutMnimi.com
The new year stands before us like a chapter in a book – waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.
Melody Beattie quote
I Call Her Mnimi | http://www.AboutMnimi.com

New year traditions from all over the world

Every country has its own New Year traditions. Some are unique and some are strange; yet, all are equally interesting and fun to do. Here are some finds we’d love to share…

Every country has its own New Year traditions. Some are unique and some are strange; yet, all are equally interesting and fun to do.

Here are some finds we’d love to share…

Brazil 

People in Brazil, specifically in Rio de Janeiro, wear white.  Some may mix their clothing with other solid colors while others wear colorful underwear.

In Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, faithful devotees celebrate the Iemanja Festival.  Iemanja or Yemanja is the African sea goddess to whom offerings, usually fruits and flowers, are tossed into or left by the water.

Right after New Year’s Eve, some will tread the waters and jump over seven waves to invoke Iemanja’s power. Seven is the lucky number that will bring good fortune for the whole year.  They will eat 7 grapes or chew 7 pomegranates.

Belgium

Belgian farmers take their livestock seriously. They wish their cows a happy new year.

Bolivia

Some Bolivians bake their coins into sweets and whoever finds those has good luck for the next year.

Chile

Families in Chile spend the night in the company of their deceased loved ones by sleeping at the cemetery.

Colombia 

Colombians eat 12 grapes – sometimes 6 green and 6 red – at the stroke of midnight.  Traditionally, the church bells ring 12 times at the stroke of New Year’s eve and believers take one grape each time as they make a wish.

They also wear new yellow underwear to ring in good luck, love and happiness.  Before midnight, wear it inside out and then reverse it as soon as the clock strikes.  It is said that it will be better if someone gifts that to you.

They also take their suitcase around to block to ensure lots of traveling for the whole year, fill their pockets with lentils for abundance, clean and dust off their houses to get rid of bad energy and bad memories.

They also keep cash in hand and all things they want for the new year, put the right foot forward and burn the “old man”.

Denmark

The Danish people ring in their New Year in a rather unique way by throwing old plates against the doors of their family and friends.  This is believed to banish bad spirits.  The more shattered plates by your front door means the more friends you have and the more good luck to come to you for the whole year.  

Danes also jump off chairs at midnight to “leap” into January in hopes of good luck.

Estonia

Estonia is all about eating the New Year’s traditions food. People eat seven times on new years day to ensure abundance in the new year.

Ecuador

New Year tradition in Ecuador has some similarities with Colombia.  Both peoples eat 12 grapes at midnight, carry suitcases and burn some “años viejo” monigotes or old-year stuffed dolls.  They also wear yellow underwear for prosperity; and/or red for love luck.

What is different are the “viudas”, which literally means widows.  These are men who cross-dress, representing the burned man’s widow, and loiter to beg for money.

Finland 

Finns like to predict during the New Year.  They cast molten tin into cold water and watch the new form it takes.  The shape is then interpreted as that person’s future. If the cast breaks, it is a sign of bad luck.

Greece

In Greece during New Year’s Eve, an onion is traditionally hung on the front door of homes. This is a symbol of rebirth. On New Year’s Day, parents wake their children by tapping them on the head with the onion.

Ireland

In Ireland, they hit the walls with bread to get rid of evil spirits.

Japan

Japanese people ring all of their bells 108 times in line with the Buddhist belief that it brings cleanliness. It is also considered good when you smile as you approach the New Year. This is believed to bring good luck.

Philippines

Filipinos surround themselves with round objects during the New Year. Round, as the shape of a coin, symbolizes prosperity and to have those objects – flat or spherical – will give you money luck for the whole year.

You’ll also find 12 assorted round fruits on dining tables. Many Pinoys also wear polka dots for luck on New Year’s eve and the following days.

Spain

In Spain, they traditionally eat 12 grapes – one at each stroke of the clock at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Each grape represents good luck for one month of the coming year. In bigger cities like Madrid and Barcelona, people gather in main squares to eat their grapes together and pass around bottles of cava.

Switzerland

Some Swiss believers celebrate the New Year by dropping ice cream on the floor.

Thailand

Besides throwing buckets of water on each other in Thailand, they also go around smearing each other with gray talc.

Panama 

To drive off evil spirits for a fresh New Year’s start, it is tradition to burn muñecos or effigies of well-known people, such as television characters and Panamanian political figures. Those effigies represent the old year.

Romania

Just like in Belgium, Romanian farmers try to communicate with their cows. “If they succeed”, it means good luck for the year.

Russia

In Siberia, some brave souls jump into frozen lakes carrying tree trunks.

Scotland 

New Year’s Eve celebration in Hogmanay, Scotland, is celebrated by “first-footing”. With this countrywide tradition, the first person who crosses a threshold of a home in the new year should carry a gift for luck. Scottish people also hold bonfire ceremonies in which they parade while swinging giant fireballs on poles. These fireballs, a symbol of the sun, is believed to purify the new year.

South Africa

In some parts of South Africa, they throw old furniture out the window.

United States of America

Americans sing the Auld Lang Syne and eat black-eyed peas for good luck.

Now, the above mentioned New Year customs and traditions are all I was able to find. If I missed your country, please feel free to let me know.

Thanks and have a prosperous new year!


References:
Brazilians celebrate goddess of the sea.  Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/brazilians-celebrate-goddess-of-the-sea/.
Browning, D. (2014, December 29). 5 Brazilian new year’s eve traditions and 2 good luck cocktails [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.easyanddelish.com/5-brazilian-new-years-eve-traditions-and-2-good-luck-cocktails/.
Grimond, G. (2017, July 4). Brazil’s goddess of the sea: Everything you need to know about festival of Iemanjá. Retrieved from https://theculturetrip.com/south-america/brazil/articles/brazils-goddess-of-the-sea-everything-you-need-to-know-about-festival-of-iemanja/.
Giles, P. (2013, December 30). The 7 best Colombian new year’s traditions [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://seecolombia.travel/blog/2013/12/the-7-best-colombian-new-years-traditions/.
Bell, C. (2017, October 26). The 11 strangest Colombian new year traditions. Retrieved from https://theculturetrip.com/south-america/colombia/articles/the-11-strangest-colombian-new-year-traditions/.
Poole, P. M. (2017, October 4). Agüeros: Colombian new year’s traditions. Retrieved from http://www.uncovercolombia.com/en/item/colombian-new-year-traditions.
Jessamyn. (2012). Ecuador new years eve [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.life-in-ecuador.com/ecuador-new-years.html.
Snyder, R. New year begins boisterously in Finland. Retrieved from https://finland.fi/life-society/new-year-begins-boisterously-in-finland/.
Chrysopoulos, C. (2014, December 31). Pomegranates, onions and other Greek new year’s eve customs. Retrieved from http://greece.greekreporter.com/2014/12/31/pomegranates-onions-and-other-greek-new-years-eve-customs/.
Pegg D. (2017, November 21) 25 strangest new year’s traditions from around the world. Retrieved from https://list25.com/25-strangest-new-years-traditions-from-around-the-world/2/ , https://list25.com/25-strangest-new-years-traditions-from-around-the-world/3/∂ , https://list25.com/25-strangest-new-years-traditions-from-around-the-world/4/ and https://list25.com/25-strangest-new-years-traditions-from-around-the-world/5/



Opening the New Year chapter

Officially starting the new year with an Edith Lovejoy Pierce quote, your opportunity book has blank pages for you to fill in. Yes, opportunities are there waiting for you to take. Anything you may have done wrongly in the past is a lesson. Today and going forward, you will get better!

Happy New Year 🎊, friends!!! I just can’t wait for the end of this write-up to say that.

I am also “officially” starting my year 2020 today with a quote by Edith Lovejoy Pierce below. It’s for you, too . . . as that is just perfect for day one of “our” 365 journey (together?). 😁

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.

Edith Lovejoy Pierce quote | I Call Her Mnimi | AboutMnimi.com

The blank pages represent all the opportunities that you are yet to take – to start over and make things a whole lot better – this year. You may have done some stupid things in the past and that’s alright. It is done and gone. It’s your lesson and hopefully, you learned. Today and going forward, you’ll make up for those . . . and you will get better!

For the obsessive-compulsive, like me, I mark today, January 1st, 2020, as that day. 👊 Haha.

Little girl, Mnimi, drawing on her book of opportunity for the new year - a red and blue house under a yellow sun which symbolizes a happy home - I Call Her Mnimi - www.AboutMnimi.com
Inside her Opportunity Book, little Mnimi draws a colorful house on a sunny day – her representation of a happy home.
I Call Her Mnimi | http://www.AboutMnimi.com

🌹

Speaking of the new year, I would have loved to start it by going to the 2020 Tournament of Roses Parade but I let myself stuck on this blog instead, which I love, too!

Tournament of Roses Parade

2018 Full Rose Parade uploaded by TheeWolfGirl13, on YouTube

For those of you who don’t know what 🌹Rose Parade is, it’s the annual parade of marching bands, equestrians and fabulous floats covered with fresh roses and other flowers 💐. It is a tradition during New Year’s Day in Southern California (unless it falls on a Sunday, then it will be moved on January 2nd).

Every year, in Pasadena, California, this flower-filled event follows a theme.  Today is about The Melody of Life and I can only imagine flowery musical floats. We’ll check out the actuals later on…

If you have already executed your first-of-the-year plan today, good for you!  For the Rose Parade fans who have settled on your best viewing spots, high five!✋🏽 But for those of you who were not able to purchase tickets, you can see the after-parade showcase for a fraction of the cost.💵

📆

Also, if you are like me who is always on the look-out for some local events, below is a list for January, February and March that you can put on your calendars in advance.  Cheers! 🥂

Effects of chewing gum on your memory

Chewing gum is ancient.  Thousands of years ago, the Greeks chewed mastiche while the Mayans and Aztecs chewed chicle to satisfy quench and hunger.  North American Indians masticated spruce tress resin, which they passed on to European settlers.

Up to this day, some people chew gum to clean teeth and freshen breath.  Some chew to curb their appetite and lose weight.  Some also chew in lieu of smoking cigarettes.  Or, maybe some chew because they are bored or . . . just because they want to.

Gum chewing in public are viewed by others as lack of class, especially if you make sounds and blow-pop bubbles.  If you talk to someone while chewing gum, you may be regarded as someone rude.  While it kills a good first impression, a gum chewer may sometimes be viewed as a slacker.

She wasn’t actually chewing gum but her demeanor was very much that of a gum chewer.  Gail Honeyman

This brings me back to the time when I took my first California driving test…

It was one late afternoon and DMV was about to close. I think I was the last customer. I don’t usually chew gum but I did anyway only because I was stress-hungry and that was the only thing my husband could get for me.

To make the story short, that Pasadena DMV guy named Bob (yes, I wrote it!) must have made an impression that I was a rude slacker so his attitude towards me was VERY unfavorable. He was so rude that when I was not able to immediately turn right back to the DMV parking lot, he suddenly pulled my hand brake. Also, throughout our driving course up to the time he forcefully stopped me, he even repeatedly said that I don’t know how to drive. I should’ve reported him at once but the office was closing and I was too tired and tensed to make a move.

Going back to gum chewing, yes, I am not a fan of that.  If I do it in public (with the exception of my DMV incident), I felt kinda like an unprofessional masticating goat . . . (LOL) . . . until I learned of this . . .

Chewing gum and your memory

A number of curious experiments on cognitive effects of gum chewing served to answer the question below…

Is it true that chewing gum helps you remember?

The answer is “nearly” a yes, chewing gum helps you remember and most neuroscientists share the same findings.  The simplest thing of chewing gum can improve memory because, just like any physical activity, it can:

  • increase heart rate
  • increase blood pressure
  • increase cortisol levels
  • increase cerebral blood flow

…thereby, making the brain more active and alert.

Lucy Wilkinson, Andrew Scholey and Keith Wesnes of University of Northumbria at Newcastle, England, studied 75 healthy adult participants.  They were randomly assigned to either chewing sugar-free Wrigley’s Extra Spearmint, pretend-chewing and no chewing at all.  Their cognitive analysis showed that actual gum chewing can improve both *working memory* and *episodic memory* as compared with the other two activities.

Richard Stephens and Richard J. Tunney argued that there is improved cognitive performance with gum-chewing because of glucose going up the brain.  Just like any other motor function, as also reported by numerous neuroscientists, the act of chewing gum elevates both heart rate and blood pressure, cortisol levels and cerebral blood flow, thereby causing arousal and alertness.  Both also concluded that, with the exception of the *executive function*, not only does chewing gum enhances working memory and long-term episodic memory, but it also improves language-based attention and perceptual processing speed.

Serge Onyper, associate professor of psychology at St. Lawrence University, New York, experimented on almost 100 students.  He found out that those who chewed gum 5 minutes before cognitive testing did better than those who did not.  But he also noted that “mastication-induced arousal” only lasted for about 20 minutes.

Andrew Smith of Cardiff University, United Kingdom, with his 133 volunteers, reported greater alertness and more positive mood.  Gum chewers showed decreased levels of stress such that they are able to complete more academic tasks.

But TMJ sufferers, be warned…

Failed tests

There are also reports that indicate no correlation between gum-chewing and memory.

In a re-examination conducted by Christopher Miles and Andrew J. Johnson of Cardiff University, United Kingdom,

So, there you have it . . . for now . . . until the next experiment results…

Chewing Gum Trivia

For your optional memory exercise, below are some names tied to the chewing gum industry.  Should you decide not to skip this, go ahead and chew a sugar-free gum to maybe enhance you memory.

  • John B. Curtis – developed his State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum
  • Thomas Adams – produced his Adams New York Chewing Gum, which gave rise to the modern chewing gum industry
  • Frank Fleer and Henry Fleer – turned their chicle into Chiclets
  • William Wrigley, Jr. – sold his Juicy Fruit and Wrigley’s Spearmint
  • Walter Diemer – re-concocted Fleer’s chicle gum formula by accident and founded a non-sticky bubble gum formula called Dubble Bubble.

Whatever you say, old boy, just look after yourself.  And whatever you do, don’t swallow the gum!  Anthony Horowitz quote, Skeleton Key

As I was reading through gum blogs and articles, a memory of me chewing multiple gums came back.  I remember swallowing a dollop of thick…  I wonder if that had any effect and may have answer my digestive problems…  Hmmm…

So health buffs said swallowing a piece of gum is safe as it is passed out of your body.  But what about multiple gums that thickened after some time and a kid swallowed it?

References:

  • Wilkinson L, Scholey A, Wesnes K (2002) Chewing gum selectively improves aspects of memory in healthy volunteers. Appetite 38, 235-236.
  • Stephen R, Tunney RJ (2004, Oct) Role of glucose in chewing gum-related facilitation of cognitive functions. Appetite Volume 43, Issue 2, pp. 211-213.
  • S. V. Onyper, T. L. Carr, J. S. Farrar and B. R. Floyd, “Cognitive Advantages of Chewing Gum. Now You See Them, Now You Don’t,” Appetite, Vol. 57, No. 2, 2011, pp. 321-328.
  • C. Miles, A. J. Johnson (2007), Chewing gum and context-dependent memory effects: A re-examination, Appetite Volume 48, Issue 2, pp. 154-158.
  • A. Smith, Effects of chewing gum on cognitive function, mood and physiology in stressed and non-stressed volunteers, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20132649

World brain day

July 22nd is World Brain Day, an annual celebration suggested by the Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee to be July 22, 2014. This was based on the date when the World Federation of Neurology was established in 1957. Its main objective “is to increase public awareness and promote advocacy related to brain health.”

July 22nd is World Brain Day, an annual celebration suggested by the Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee to be July 22, 2014. This was based on the date when the World Federation of Neurology was established in 1957. Its main objective “is to increase public awareness and promote advocacy related to brain health.”

Reference:
World Brain Day – Background. Retrieved July 6, 2019 from https://www.wfneurology.org/world-brain-day-background.

History of chocolate

July 7th is World Chocolate Day or International Chocolate Day – the global celebration of cacao-made treats every year. Now, before we sink our teeth into huge chocolatey goodness, let us take a piece of that cocoa history.

July 7th is World Chocolate Day or International Chocolate Day – the global celebration of cacao-made treats every year. Now, before we, chocoholics, sink our teeth into huge chocolatey goodness, let us take a little piece of that cocoa history.

The history of chocolate – Deanna Pucciarelli by TED-Ed, on YouTube
The History Of Chocolate In 120 Seconds by BuzzFeedVideo, on YouTube

This Nutella donut is overwhelmingly sweet by the looks of it. No diabetics please. Haha! Anyway…

Happy World Chocolate Day!

World Chocolate Day by Doughnut Time, on YouTube

11 nasty reasons why we forget

Forgetfulness is a memory lapse in which a person is unable to recall stored information from his brain. This may be a sign of cognitive decline or a moment of inattentiveness due to some underlying factors.

Forgetfulness is a tendency to forget things. (1) Oftentimes referred to as the state of being neglectful, it is when failure to remember happens. (2)

When forgetting does happen and it seems recurrent, like, where you put your keys for the nth time, stay calm. Though you may think your memory lapse may be a sign of cognitive decline, that could just be due to your inattentiveness. Let’s check it out…

Your 2 forgetfulness checkpoints

If you are unable to remember some things, you may begin to think of it as a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease.  But wait a minute!  You may want to examine the situations first.  Here are two simple checkpoints for you:

  • Have you focused enough to get the info into your short-term memory store?
  • Have you rehearsed or repeated enough just so your brain can transfer the info from your short-term to long-term memory store? (Otherwise, it could just be pseudo-forgetting.)

If you answered no to any of the above questions, then again, please worry not.  You just need to pay a little more attention next time. Consider mnemonics.

I have had many instances where I forgot simple things.  In fact, I am using my old reading glasses because I couldn’t remember where I put my new pair (sigh).  I don’t think my brain is deteriorating.  Of course, not (even if I misplaced my specs a million times)!  But I do know that I was multi-tasking, as I always do, like when I blabber with excitement while typing some articles. I sometimes lose track. (Haha… Facetious? Hmm…)

Memory, for all that it does for us every day . . . for all the feats that can sometimes amaze us, can also be a troublemaker.

Daniel Schacter

Common causes of forgetfulness

Common causes of forgetfulness by Dr. Zulfiquar Ahmed, on YouTube

In high school, I memorized multiple dance steps in the shortest period of time. I was absent when my classmates did the 1st and 2nd rehearsals so I had to instantly learn our presentation before the next class began. It was a success.

Years flew by and in 2016, I joined an advanced hip-hop class and found out – a bit amazed (duh) – that I can no longer recall new dance steps (sigh). While the “twenteens” mastered the moves in 15-or-so minutes, I felt like I no longer have the talent . . . or the fresh neurons that will wire that dang thing up in my deteriorating aging brain. SMH.

Now, here are the common causes of forgetfulness…

  1. Lack of sleep
  2. Dehydration
  3. Too much alcohol
  4. Chronic stress
  5. Anxiety
  6. Depression
  7. Isolation
  8. Some medication
  9. Hypothyroidism
  10. Hyperthyroidism
  11. Aging

Lack of sleep

The well-known brain researcher and so-called sleep evangelist, Matthew Walker explains in his book, Why We Sleep: Unlocking The Power of Sleep And Dreams, that sleep can prevent diabetes that may damage nerves in the brain due to high insulin levels.  The sleep expert from UC Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab also reveals that 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night can be powerful means to improve our bodies, including our brain function.

Too much alcohol

Anything that drowses, including alcohol, will cause you to be inattentive, such that your memory functions weaken.

Chronic stress

Having to deal with overwhelming stress, such as personal responsibilities, may wear you and your brain down.  Dwelling on a past sad event may make you uninterested of the present situation.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal part of our lives but too much of it may affect your psychological well-being. It may result to excessive nervousness and worry that may affect your mental health overtime.

Depression

Depression is the cousin of anxiety.

“Forgetfulness can also be a sign of depression—or a consequence of it.” If you are depressed, you will produce less serotonin and that will make you less attentive.

Depressed people may have the tendency to isolate themselves from the rest of the world.  People, especially old folks, who do not want to mingle or socialize anymore tend to have a faster rate of mental deterioration.

Some medication

Some medications, like sedatives, anti-depresants, blood pressure drugs, including those prescribed by your doctor, may have amnesic side effects.  Please be cautious when propping a pill and certainly let your doctor know of any concern.

Hypothyroidism

Under-active thyroid may disturb sleep and cause depression, too.

Studies have shown that there is a link between subclinical hypothyroidism and mild cognitive impairment, specifically the *working memory* and *executive function*.

“Thyroid hormone regulates metabolism in every organ of the body, including the brain. When thyroid hormone is low, it can affect your memory span and ability to concentrate.

Hyperthyroidism

Just like hypothyroidism, overactive thyroid can also hurt your memory function.  Anxiety, as the result of too much thyroid hormones, may…

Studies have also shown that “there is a strong body of evidence to support the association between subclinical hyperthyroidism and cognitive impairment.”  Neuroscientists are yet to discover its “clear mechanistic associations” and any evidence that will “prevent or improve cognitive decline” by administering antithyroid measures on older people.

References:
(1) Forgetfulness [Def. 1]. (n.d.). In Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries. Retrieved June 25, 2019 from https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/english/forgetfulness.
(2) Forgetful [Def. 2]. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster. Retrieved June 25, 2019 from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/forgetfulness.
(3) Murray, Bridget. 2003, October. The seven sins of memory. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/oct03/sins.

– Pendick, D.  (2018, April 05).  7 common causes of forgetfulness.  Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/7-common-causes-of-forgetfulness-201302225923.
– Gan, E. H. and Pearce, S. H. S. (2012, August 3). The Thyroid in Mind: Cognitive Function and Low Thyrotropin in Older People. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3496329/.
– Suszynski, M. (2016, April 07). 9 Ways to Improve Your Memory If You Have Hypothyroidism.

Pseudo-forgetting or mental blur

Pseudo-forgetting is like forgetting but “not in a real sense”. This is because there is no true learning and that information was never really stored as long-term memory for it to be recalled. This is sometimes referred to as mental blur.

Pseudo-forgetting is a combination of two words – false and failing to recall. Actually, it is an instance where you are unable to remember something simply because you did not learn it in the first place!

Pseudo-forgetting is also referred to as mental blur in which there is no complete learning as information was never fully stored in the brain. (1)

There is no true learning since perceived information was never rehearsed nor transferred to long-term memory. It was only held briefly as short-term memory. (2)

(1) Models of Memory. (n.d.). Retrieved June 24, 2019 from http://www.massey.ac.nz/~wwpapajl/evolution/assign2/AA/mainpage.html
(2) AAC Study Tips: Forgetting: Why Do I Forget? (n.d.). Retrieved June 24, 2019 from https://webapps.ohio.edu/studytips/Memory_forgetting.html.

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